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Just the Assistant: Meetings - A to Z

Like you, I have attended my fair share of meetings. Unlike you, I am the official authority on meeting rules of behavior. To ensure you enjoy the remainder of the meetings in your life, I have compiled an A to Z list of meeting policies that should be implemented by the entire country, starting today.

Attendance is optional. But, it’s your job to make sure you know what took place in the meeting. If not, and later I hear you ranting about something you don’t know anything about because you weren’t at the meeting, I’ll smack you. I’ll do it.

Bra straps. Keep ‘em covered. Very distracting.

Cigarettes. Do not smoke just prior to the meeting starting. I don’t care if you popped a breath mint. That just means your breath smells like smoky breath mints.

Drinking. The missing link to livelier meetings.

Enjoy yourself! Kidding. It’s a meeting; push through it.

Frustration. An appropriate display of frustration during a meeting is rubbing your hands through your hair, just along the scalp, combined with a groan of sorts. An inappropriate display of frustration is using the F-word and throwing down your pencil.

Got a nifty ring tone that plays a hip, Native American tune? Silence it.

Hard time with punctuality? Fine, but you may not make any comments during the meeting in case your comment has already been covered. You are not exempt by saying, “You may have already gone over this, but. . .” It’s the price you pay, tardy-pants.

Interrupting. It will not be tolerated.

Jokes. Fine, but they better be funny.

Knitting. What’s the deal with everyone knitting these days? It’s charming on front porches, but don’t knit during meetings, for crying out loud.

Leather should not be worn if you choose to disregard Rule C.

Meeting running longer than it should because of someone’s nonsensical ramblings? Gather your things and whisper, “Sorry, got to get back to work!” That’ll shut the rambler right up.

Noises from the stomach. Happens to everyone. It is the other meeting attendees’ responsibility to scoot their chairs around a bit and fake cough in order to create noise to mask the rumbles. Just plain courtesy, folks.

Openers. Appropriate meeting openers: current work-out regimens, funny pet stories. Inappropriate openers: past stomach virus recaps, sad animal stories. 

Pee breaks. always welcomed. Facilitators, take note.

Quit changing the subject.

Responses. A proper response to an announcement is a thoughtful head nod. An improper response is a discussion about the fallacies of thought that went into making said announcement. 

Speakerphone meeting? Great. Stop clicking your pen beside the speaker or I’m going to snap it in half.

Texting. Do it one more time, and I’m going to throw this chair at you.

Unless you’d fancy being despised for the rest of your life, start and end meetings on time.

Vendors. You’re welcome to attend, but you better bring good food.While you may have a specific question for the facilitator about your unique project/role/lunch/divorce/home remodel, a group meeting is not the place to bring it up.

Xanax. Taking some prior to meetings may be appropriate in special circumstances. Xanax plus wine? Not so much.

Your therapist. She appreciates it when you bring your major life traumas to her. Your co-workers do not.

Zip your lips while the boss is talking (unless, that is, it’s time to implement rule M).

Christina Ledbetter is a free-lance writer in Houston and regular columnist for Houston Woman Magazine. She also writes at
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